Scott Hamilton with the Louis Stewart Quartet

 

FELICITOUS is the word that springs to mind to describe the Dublin Jazz Society's recent Scott Hamilton concert. From the time the visiting saxophonist took the stage in a packed Mother Red caps he delighted the audience to the end of the night.

A player very much in the tradition of Coleman Rawkins, he makes love to his material with a warm tone and an artful invention that is totally captivating. Such engaging playing was obviously enjoyed not only by the audience, but also by his fellow musicians.

These were led by Louis Stewart, whose excellence we have almost come to take for granted. Yet again, he rose to the occasion and, whether on standard tunes or spontaneously invented blues, he contributed his own dynamic.

Noel Kelehan on piano prodded Hamilton judiciously and, when soloing, did so with the relaxed and fluid invention that is his hallmark. Martin Curry on bass just gets better and better with each outing. John Wadham, as always, solidly underpinned the group with his drumming.

Hamilton's choice of material ranged from standard ballads Skylark, I Can't Get Started and Old Folks to Dizzy Gillespie's bop classic The Champ. On Yesterdays, for example, he started with a lush, romantic introduction before breaking into a latin rhythm. Noel Kelehan picked up every cue as if the band had been rehearsing for weeks and Louis Stewart took over with a magisterial bossa style solo, in which he excelled.